Thought Leadership

Building Relationship Capital and Advancing Impact

In an interview with Bryce Butler, host of the Access Ventures podcast, Melanie Audette, Senior Vice President at Mission Investors Exchange (MIE), explains how foundations are uniquely positioned to be the first movers on impact, and the power of building strong relationships to advance equity and impact. 
As impact investing continues to garner mainstream attention, foundations have a unique opportunity to deploy impact capital in ways that traditional investors cannot. "For example, because foundations are looking at impact first, they can fund riskier unproven models before anyone else," says Audette. "These first movers can open doors that others can follow."

Foundations are able to do this through two key tools, Program Related Investments (PRIs) and Mission Related Investments (MRIs). PRIs are a grant-like tool that can be deployed as debt, equity, or guarantees in service of the foundation's charitable giving efforts. MRIs are often a portion of a foundation's endowment specifically allocated for mission-oriented investments. Some foundations might use MRIs to fund specific focus areas, like diverse fund managers, whereas others may use it as another tool to fund their PRIs.

The reality is that no one foundation uses these tools the same way, which is why Audette challenges listeners to take the time to build strong relationships and learn from one another. These relationships can help foundations and investors find smart investments, build impact measures, and better understand the right tools to achieve their mission. 
Visit the MIE Endowment Investing Library for more resources related to this topic. 

Watch a Video Recording of the Podcast

And see below for a link to the podcast.

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